MONTREAL- The Biggest Rivalry in NHL eSports — Gren-35 vs. EZ-Regs — Revamped during the 2022 Gaming World Championship, with Gren winning his second straight title in front of a packed crowd on Wednesday.
And after losing it all in 2021, Regs was back bigger and better, winning the championship series 2-1 and taking home $26,000.
The top eight players in the world competed against each other in a two-day championship event, with the final four players battling for the title in front of a packed crowd next to the Bell Center on Wednesday. The event was part of the kick-off for the NHL draw in Montreal and marked the return to personal championship action after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
EZ-Regs, representing the New York Islanders, and Gren-35, representing the Dallas Stars, reached the final for the third year in a row. Regs, 21, is a three-time NHL GWC finalist, finishing second in North America in 2021 and winning the Canadian title in 2020. Gren, 20, reached a GWC final for the fifth year in a row, winning the final championship in 2021.
Hosted by commentators Cameron “NoSleeves” Halbert, Anthony “GrizGoal” Scibilia III and NHL reporter Carrlyn Bathe, thousands watched online, peaking at about 5,000 viewing the main feed on the NHL’s Twitch account. The event had several special guests, including a mix of NHL draft prospects, media, fans and other competitive players who came to watch the fight. Even NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman — who said he doesn’t consider himself much of a video gamer — showed up to act.
The Gaming World Championship qualifying round was open to everyone on the four major video game consoles on the Playstation and Xbox side. Through various events over the past few months, the final eight players have qualified for the North American GWC series in Montreal.
In Game 1 of the Grand Final, Gren took a 3-0 lead in the first break, but Regs fought back and forced extra time with a goal with just seven seconds left in the regular season. Gren scored almost immediately in extra time to secure the win.
Game 2 was all Regs, building on the momentum of a good second half in the first game to win 4-1. That set up a winner-takes-all final, where Regs won 6-2 in a dominant attempt in Game 3 to take the title.
Enceki, who also represents the Islanders, won the European Championship for the second year in a row last month, marking a clean sheet for the New York Islanders’ GWC effort.
While Wednesday’s goal celebrations were certainly electric, the fast-paced nature of games in NHL 22 meant you had to be in full focus the entire time. Blinking might as well have been illegal.
The goalscorer would normally acknowledge their fans in the crowd – both Regs and Gren had a fair number of hardcore supporters in attendance – before immediately taking a quick sip of water and concentrating on the next face-off.
“I don’t know if it’s because of the years of experience, I’ve always been a calm person,” Regs said after the game.
Regs, who has been playing competitively since he was 17, said he will use some of the $26,000 to pay off his schooling and invest in his future. A fan in attendance yelled “Drinks on Regs!” to a sea of laughter. And he made it clear that there was a celebration to be had in Montreal, a city known for having fun every now and then.
“It’s going to be a fun evening.”